Johnny Cool is a 1963 American neo-noir crime film directed by William Asher based on the novel The Kingdom of Johnny Cool by John McPartland which stars Henry Silva and Elizabeth Montgomery. Produced in part by Peter Lawford, Johnny Cool features a cast that also includes Mort Sahl, Telly Savalas, Jim Backus, Joey Bishop, and Sammy Davis, Jr., who also sings the theme song.
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||William Asher|
|Written by||Joseph Landon|
John McPartland (novel)
Sammy Davis, Jr
|Music by||Billy May|
|Distributed by||United Artists|
|October 19, 1963|
Johnny Colini, an exiled American living in Rome, rescues Salvatore Giordano, a young Sicilian outlaw, from the police. After Giordano is groomed, polished, and renamed "Johnny Cool," Colini sends him on a mission of vengeance to the United States to assassinate the men who plotted his downfall and enforced exile. Johnny arrives in New York and quickly kills several of the underworld figures on Colini's list.
Meanwhile, he picks up Darien "Dare" Guinness, a wealthy divorcée who becomes his accomplice, she is later severely beaten by the gangsters as a warning to Johnny against pursuing his vendetta. Soon the FBI becomes involved, and when Johnny and Dare bomb the Hollywood home of gangster Lennart Crandall, the police are able to identify Dare's car when she panics and leaves it parked on the street. The two had separated and planned to meet later, but Dare, abruptly realizing that Johnny is a vicious killer, tells his enemies where to find him. She then surrenders herself to the FBI, as Johnny is being tortured by his captors at the film's conclusion.
- Henry Silva as Johnny Cool / Salvatore Giordano
- Elizabeth Montgomery as Darien "Dare" Guinness
- Richard Anderson as Correspondent
- Jim Backus as Louis Murphy
- Joey Bishop as Holmes, Used Car Salesman
- Brad Dexter as Lennart Crandall
- Mort Sahl as Ben Morrow
- Telly Savalas as Vincenzo 'Vince' Santangelo
- Sammy Davis, Jr. as Educated
- Marc Lawrence as Johnny Colini
- John McGiver as Oscar B. 'Oby' Hinds
- Joseph Calleia as tourist
- Clegg Hoyt as Craps Player
Film score and soundtrackEdit
|Soundtrack album by|
UAL 4111/UAS 5111
The film score was composed, arranged and conducted by Billy May, and the soundtrack album was released on the United Artists label in 1963. Allmusic's Steven McDonald noted "This soundtrack manages to mix the early '60s caper-flick brand of jazz with the darker feel of 1950s film noir -- a genre to which Johnny Cool was a deliberate throwback."
All compositions by Billy May except as indicated
- "The Lizard" - 2:38
- "Window Washer" - 2:37
- "Dare's Affair" - 2:40
- "Borrow a Knife" - 1:47
- "Johnny Cool Theme" - 2:19
- "Morning in Balboa" - 2:14
- "Nice Quiet Saloon" - 2:35
- "Green Tables Blues" - 3:16
- "The Coolest Pad" - 3:18
- "Juan Coolisto" - 2:19
- "Bee Bom" (Les Vandyke) - 2:14
- "The Ballad Of Johnny Cool" (Jimmy Van Heusen, Sammy Cahn) - 2:58
- Lawford Like No Other Commuter By Bob Thomas. The Washington Post, Times Herald (1959-1973); Washington, D.C. [Washington, D.C]18 Oct 1964: G6.
- Silver, Alain; Ward, Elizabeth; Ursini, James; Porfirio, Robert (2010). Film Noir: The Encyclopaedia. Overlook Duckworth (New York). ISBN 978-1-59020-144-2.
- McDonald, Stephen. Johnny Cool – Review at AllMusic. Retrieved March 30, 2016.
- Edwards, D., Callahan, M., Eyries, P., Watts, R., & Neely, T. United Artists UAL-40000/UAL 4000 mono/UAS 5000 stereo Series accessed March 30, 2016